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**** Mastermind III - Tragic Symphony

Heavy progressive rock from a band that evolved an Emerson, Lake and Palmer influence into a career. Guitarist Bill Berends again shows that among midi guitar synth players, he has no equal. Supplemented solely by his brother Rich on drums, the amazing thing about this album is that there are no keyboards -- it's all drums, guitar, bass and midi. Unusual for the band, only one track here is an instrumental, and Bill Berends' vocals continue to be on the harsh side. That works, in that this is a novel approach to a classically derived sound, but does make for a "getting used to it" curve. I think the first song, "Tiger! Tiger!" which was written by composer Virgil Thompson (with lyrics borrowed from William Blake) in 1967, is the best track on the album. Better than the previous Brainstorm, but still not up to the level of the album which follows this, Until Eternity, this is a good pick if you're looking to flesh out your Mastermind collection, or if you're a big ELP fan who wants a bit more meat out of the guitar.

Reviews by A. D. Jensen
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